03 March 2011 ~ 13 Comments

Ask Rash: Fibromyalgia/CFS and Exercise

Question: Hi! I was diagnosed over 16 years ago with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and fibromyalgia. I have had difficulty exercising sufficiently and regularly for my heart health as well as weight reduction (maintenance). Do you know of others who suffer from this side effect, and what are they able to do that helps with these issues whilst avoiding the inevitable “crash.” Thanks for any suggestions.


This question is a tough one as I haven’t had much experience with the disease process of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. What I do with my patients is send them to a pain clinic, as well as a fitness trainer who specialises in chronic illnesses. This way they can slowly build up their stamina to enable them to exercise more. This individualised, multidisciplinary approach involves the physician, the fitness specialist, the pain specialist and a dietician (who can e.g. help patients to identify food intolerances, optimise blood sugars and blood pressure). When you begin an exercise regimen, you start off slowly and gradually to build up to your tolerance level. Traditional medicine can also be accompanied by complementary therapy. I have found that the best therapies are reflexology and possibly acupuncture, as well as tai chi, yoga and behaviour counselling.


Further reading:

A search for fibromyalgia and exercise yields a wealth of results, including the following:

1.    Fibromyalgia exercise website

2.    Fibro-friendly exercises

3.    Debunking Myths: ‘More Exercise’ for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(also includes further links to studies, etc.)

Here is another link recommended by Rash:

4.    Eating for Energy


Rash and I (Sarah) would love to hear about your experiences with fibromyalgia/CFS and exercise? Do you have any tips for our readers? How do you make sure you pace yourself whilst preventing post-exertional malaise (that all too familiar crash following physical or mental exertion)?

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